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Gendler, Tamar, , . Imaginative Resistance Revisisted
2006, In Shaun Nichols (ed.), The Architecture of the Imagination. Oxford University Press. pp. 149-173 (2006)
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Summary: This chapter discusses the puzzle of imaginative resistance, partially defending and partially refining the account presented in the previous chapter. It explores imaginative resistance as a special case of a more general puzzle the author calls the puzzle of authoritative breakdown: that when an author follows standard conventions for fictionally asserting P, engaged readers typically imagine P—but in some cases this relation falls apart. The bulk of the chapter is devoted to systematically identifying and explaining where and why this breakdown occurs, and to drawing connections with the literature on metaphor and perspective‐taking. The author’s views are contrasted with those of David Hume, Brian Weatherson, Gregory Currie, Stephen Yablo, and Shaun Nichols.

Comment: This paper would compliment other papers on imaginative resistance well in a module where this is the focus.

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Gendler, Tamar, , . The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance
2000, Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):55-81
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: This chapter presents and discusses the puzzle of imaginative resistance: the puzzle of explaining our comparative difficulty in imagining fictional worlds that we take to be morally deviant. It suggests that the primary source of imaginative resistance lies not in our inability to imagine morally deviant situations, but in our unwillingness to do so. This diagnosis is then used to illuminate the nature of imagination itself: unlike belief, the contents of imagination are not restricted to those things we take to be true; but unlike mere supposition, imagination involves a certain sort of engaged participation on the part of the imaginer. The chapter also includes a brief discussion of the issue of truth‐in‐fiction. The author’s views on the puzzle are contrasted with those of David Hume, Richard Moran, and Kendall Walton.

Comment: Gendler argues here that there is truly a problem of imaginative restistance, and that it demonstrates something about the nature of imagination. This is a good introductory paper to the problem of imaginative resistance and the nature of imagination. It would be very suitable in a module focusing on philosophy of fiction.

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Gendler, Tamar Szabó, , Karson Kovakovich. Genuine Rational Fictional Emotions
2006, In Matthew Kieran (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. Blackwell 241-253.
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Abstract: The “paradox of fictional emotions” involves a trio of claims that are jointly inconsistent but individually plausible. Resolution of the paradox thus requires that we deny at least one of these plausible claims. The paradox has been formulated in various ways, but for the purposes of this chapter, we will focus on the following three claims, which we will refer to respectively as the Response Condition, the Belief Condition and the Coordination Condition.

Comment: This paper introduces the paradox of fiction, briefly discusses some challenges faced by those attempting to solve it, and offers a solution grounded in Damasio’s research into the role of emotions in guiding action. It provides only a limited discussion of the previous debate, which makes it less suitable as an introductory text; it is best used in senior aesthetics classes or as a further reading. Its engagement with psychological literature means it can inspire discussions on the relations between philosophical and empirical explanations.

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Stock, Kathleen, , . Resisting Imaginative Resistance
2005, Philosophical Quarterly 55: 607-24.
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Abstract: Recently, philosophers have identified certain fictional propositions with which one does not imaginatively engage, even where one is transparently intended by their authors to do so. One approach to explaining this categorizes it as ‘resistance’, that is, as deliberate failure to imagine that the relevant propositions are true; the phenomenon has become generally known (misleadingly) as ‘the puzzle of imaginative resistance’. I argue that this identification is incorrect, and I dismiss several other explanations. I then propose a better one, that in central cases of imaginative failure, the basis for the failure is the contingent incomprehensibility of the relevant propositions.

Comment: The literature on imaginative resistance is a vast one in philosophy of fiction. This gives one response to the problem, and would be a useful text for students to have paired with Gendler’s original paper on imaginative resistance.

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